March 1, 2018 1:02 p.m.
Editor’s Note: On February 24, 2018, the Fernandina Observer submitted questions to Raydient to better understand the disagreements between Raydient and the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC). The questions were submitted early in our coverage, and the answers were received today. We are sharing them with you. The Fernandina Observer will continue to seek further information from both parties.
When did the misunderstanding arise, and how many meetings were held in an attempt to resolve it? Who attended those meetings on behalf of Raydient and the County?
Misunderstandings between Nassau County staff and Raydient Places + Properties started in the Spring of 2017 during funding discussions for Pages Dairy community and regional park improvements. Since then we had more than a dozen meetings. Participants included – Rayonier/Raydient: Dan Camp, Mark Bridwell, Chris Corr, Mike Bell, Charles Adams, Allister Fisher, Mike Hahaj; AV Homes: David Smith; Consultants: Jim Sellen (VHB), Staci Rewis (Gunster), Jonathan Johnson & Sarah Warren (HG&S), Hugh Matthews & Lindsey Haga (ETM); Nassau County: Mike Mullin, Shanea Jones, Justin Stankowitz, Taco Pope, Scott Herring, Doug McDowell and the Court Reporte
Why did Raydient not attend 2 meetings called with the BOCC to air the differences?
We regret that we could not participate in the Feb. 12 workshop with county officials to discuss recreation funding for the ENCPA. Previously, Raydient and county officials had agreed in principle to a specific agenda for the workshop, however, at the last-minute, the county presented us with a different agenda for the meeting. We suggested to the county that we reschedule the workshop for a later date, in order for both parties to reach consensus on the agenda. Our offer, however was declined by the county. The company was given less than 24 hours’ notice for the second meeting.
Why didn’t Raydient present this matter to the legislature in its own name as opposed to having it introduced by another party? If the county lobbyist had not discovered it at the last minute, it would have sailed through with no county input.
While Rayonier and Raydient did not initiate the legislation about which the county now expresses concern, we do support it. Sometime last fall, we became aware of an effort to draft potential amendments to SB 324 and HB 697. When the language was being drafted by the multiple parties interested in it — including legislative committees — we reviewed it and confirmed that we were supportive. Part of our job is to be aware of what is going on in Florida when it comes to legislative matters. Specifically, we were and remain interested in the provision establishing a reasonable time frame for local governments to act upon applications for new development. In our view, this is a fairness issue, any entity spending large amounts of time and money anywhere in Florida on a proposal to invest capital should be given the courtesy of fair and timely consideration.
When and under what understanding were Senator Bean and Rep. Byrd brought into this on Raydient’s behalf?
As the Senator and Representative for this district – we keep in close contact on a variety of matters concerning state policy that impacts both Nassau County and our project. There was not a specific point in time when we “brought them into this on Raydient’s behalf.”
How does Raydient propose to win back the “hearts and minds” of Nassau County residents who believe that they have been hoodwinked in the name of corporate greed?
We don’t believe any disagreement we might have with the County is insurmountable and believe we have a lot more common ground than differences. We have accomplished a lot together and have the opportunity to do so much more. A key aspect to resolving our differences with the County is to begin and complete the Civic Facilities Study.